Key Issues > Federal Oversight of Commercial Nuclear Power
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Federal Oversight of Commercial Nuclear Power

In 2014, U.S. commercial nuclear power plants generated about 19.5 percent of the nation’s electricity. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licenses these plants and regulates and oversees their safe operation and security.

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NRC faces a number of new and ongoing challenges in fulfilling its mission, including:

  • Addressing concerns about the safety of U.S. nuclear power plants and the adequacy of its processes and regulations in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster.
  • Providing oversight of the decommissioning of nuclear power plants and reviewing advanced reactor designs.
  • Deciding whether to renew the operating licenses of existing nuclear power plants while continuing to provide effective oversight of those plants as they age.
  • Taking steps to right-size the agency in light of fewer new nuclear power plants being built and some existing plants being decommissioned earlier than expected.

Figure 1: NRC Regions and Operating Nuclear Power Plants in the United States as of September 2013

Figure 1: NRC Regions and Operating Nuclear Power Plants in the United States

Excerpted from GAO-13-743

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  • portrait of Frank Rusco
    • Frank Rusco
    • Director, Natural Resources and Environment
    • ruscof@gao.gov
    • 202-512-3841